Title: Understanding the NEET-
homelessness interface and
coping strategise of young people
in Essex, Kent and London.
By: Robert Gonouya
There are now 1.1 million young people classified as being
not in education, employment or training(NEET) in the UK
(Winnett, 2005) with at least 1% of this growing cohort being
NEET at 16, 17 and 18(Department for Education, 2010).
Centre Point estimates that between 36 000 -52 000 young
people are officially classified as homeless and approximately
75 000 young people experience periodic homelessness
throughout each year. The numbers of homeless young
people are on the rise, with ethnic minorities increasingly
being over represented in these groups.
In London over 50% of young homeless people are Afro-
Caribbean (Godfrey et al, 2002))
Therefore, there is a group of young people whose lives and
transitions are shaped by their exposure to both NEETism
To reconceptualise youth transitions in relation to
the interface between NEETism and
To critically examine the interface between
NEETism (not in education, employment or
training) and youth Homelessness.
To explore coping and risk management strategies
by NEET -Homeless young people in transition to
To understand the place and influence of cultural
values on the attitudes of NEET-Homeless young
people towards education, career aspirations, the
A growing number of young people, including those from
migrant groups are now using the status of Neetism and
Homelessness to ‘make it’ through tumultuous transitions by
The word ‘playing’ is used in a metaphorical sense and
suggests a kind of taking advantage of the system in a ‘clever’
way which makes it difficult to pin down by those outside of
the ‘game’. It involves a disabling of oneself in order to
enhance their capabilities - positioning oneself in order to
negotiate a move which would otherwise have involved
greater uncertainty, responsibility and accountability.
This may indeed be viewed as a form of resilience,
particularly given that youth transitions are now characterised
by high unemployment and a lack of permanent, full-time jobs,
especially for those without qualifications.
Literature review: will review existing material,
including publications and data representing or
reinterpreting evidence. My analysis will begin by
gathering existing analysis of the costs and benefits
of employment for NEET and homeless people, but
also by exploring gaps in knowledge. This will be
further developed following a series of exploratory
interviews with a variety of participants.
Interviews with people who had experience of
homelessness and being NEET who have tried to get
into employment. In addition, I intend to also conduct
semi-structured interviews with those that work with
this issue, including hostel staff, parents and policy-
The scope of this empirical study will be limited to specific locations,
namely, Essex, London and Kent. The locations have been selected for
the ease of access to NEET –Homeless youths based on the
researchers professional networks and contacts. In addition, nationally,
these areas have high prevalence of NEETism and homelessness and
a good representation of ethnic minorities.
Snowball technique, a form of purposive sampling, will be employed in
this research. One other major advantage of using this method in this
context is that it helps in the finding and recruitment of hard to reach
/hidden populations such as homeless young people who may not be
known to agencies.
A total of 60 young people representing 3 distinct cohorts will take part
in the research. The groups will comprise of (a) 30 young people
between the ages of 16-24 who are NEET and Homeless (b) 10 white
born in the UK who are NEET but not homeless, (c) 10 with ethnic
minority backgrounds who were born in the UK and (d) 10 youths from
ethnic minorities not born in the UK (also known as really migrant).
Data generated during field work will be transcribed, organised
and analysed using a software package called NVivo. The
analytic activities will be organised in the following phases:-
Data collected during field work are made into text, for example
Codes will then be developed and affixed to transcript pages.
Codes transformed into categorical labels.
Materials then sorted by these categories, identifying common
Sorted materials will be examined further to select meaningful
Indentified patterns will then be considered in light of previous
research and theories and a set of generalisations established.
Aims and Objectives of Literature
Review is exploring of the interface between NEETism and
homelessness, aiming to understand the experiences of
NEET and homeless young people in the different categories
of youths in the UK.
Specifically, what have been the experiences of 'really
migrant' youths (those who came into the UK after the age of
14 compared to those who are born here (ethnic minorities
and white British)?
Are there differences in transition experiences between
genders in these cohorts and how have they coped with the
In the context of youth transitions, the review will explore how
(if at all) such aspects have been previously explored,
understood and identify gaps within the literature.
Literature Review -3 Lots of Literature
Concepts of Youth and Adulthoods
Defining youth as an age or phase is unhelpful to understanding young people
and that taking youth as a process provides scope for analysing the dynamics of
young people as they transit to adulthood.
No single adulthood but many adulthoods. Morrow and Richards (1996)
delineate 'adulthoods' as follows:
Political orlegal adulthood -which involves the acquisition of various rights and
responsibilities at various stages, for example, the right to vote, marry and
becoming criminally liable for offences committed.
Financial oreconomic adulthood which involves financial independence from
the immediate family. Employment is the usual means by which this is attained.
Social and sexual adulthood which involves the development of lifestyles and
individual identities through participation in consumer markets and managing
one's own time and adult sexuality.
As such, it is the case that becoming an adult in the 21st century demands the
successful coordination of multiple transitions.
Many young people fail/struggle and end up in undesirable situations such as
being NEET and Homeless.
Review Highlights Continued
Normative models of youth transitions no longerrelevant
Hotch-potch of metaphors used to characterise transitions
–forexample pathways, navigation, yo-yo)
The 'myth' of lineartransitions in the past, arguing that,
"The range of choices may have been different, leading to
a greater homogenisation of possible pathways and
individuals may have had less expectation of being able to
design their own trail but the individual still had to negotiate
and manage their own trajectory, whether it was of their
own choosing or not. Indeed, the absence of apparent
choice might be hypothesized to have brought its own risks
The family and the welfare state continue to be key
influences on many youth transitions.
Social class, genderand ethnicity, are still important
influences of transition outcomes, just as much as the
Structure and Agency(Durkheim and Weber)
Late Modernity(Beck and Giddens)
Social Underclass(Charles Murray)
Attribution Theory(Rothbaum et al)
Strategy and Tactics(De Certau)
‘Finalise’ Literature Review
Begin field work in January 2011